Jim Lewin: A lifetime love of books

Jim Lewin’s passion for used-book stores led him to buy one, where he instills the same love of reading that his mom encouraged in him as a child.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Jim Lewin (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Jim Lewin doesn’t remember when he fell in love with reading, but over the course of his life, he grew into the kind of guy who needs a spending limit when he walks into a used book store.

When he travels, he usually finds one and peruses the selection. Jim cherished the stores because, unlike the Barnes and Nobles of the world, the used stores are the kind of places you can find a hardcover copy of “Jaws” or “Deliverance.” He has nothing against them, he says, it’s just a different selection.

More than 25 years ago, he came to York on business, and was enchanted by the York Emporium.

“There was just a flavor to this place,” Jim recalls. “It was open, very relaxed, and it just had a ton of books that were just reasonably priced.”

We do not throw books away. We do not burn them. We find a good home for them

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Jim Lewin

His love for the Emporium brought him back time and time again. As an employee of Kodak, he often ran up and down the East Coast. Whenever he could, even when it might’ve been out of his way, he’d stop in at the Emporium.

In 2005, he and his wife made a stop in York. His wife joked that his spending limit for this Emporium visit was $15,000. When checking out, he told the story to the previous owner, who said, “if you’re interested in the book store, let’s talk.”

That happened on Labor Day weekend. Jim and his wife took over the store on January 1.

His time at the Emporium since then hasn’t always been about cutting a profit but instilling the same love of reading that his mom encouraged in him as a child. It’s holding horror and science fiction days or bringing in authors for meet and greets.

Every week, he loads LifePath Christian Ministries up with used books, and another load goes to a hospital up in Harrisburg. Whatever he can’t sell or cannot use, he gives away.

“We do not throw books away. We do not burn them,” Jim says. “We find a good home for them.”

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